The Rivers Are Inside Our Homes (Notre Dame Review Book Prize) (Paperback)
The Rivers Are Inside Our Homes handles themes of loss and exile, aging generations, fable and fairy tale, marriage and hurt, with the island of Cuba at its heart.
These incandescent poems by Cuban American poet Victoria Mar a Castells explore how we can salvage our notion of paradise in an overspent Eden. In thwarted homes located in Havana and Miami, Rapunzel and her prince, persecuted nymphs, Morgause, and Bluebeard's wife speak to us directly, all in need of returning to safety. Confronting machismo, illness, heartbreak, and isolation, the poems depict how women are at the mercy of men, either husband or oligarch. Yet all generations of Cubans are bombarded with this need to return or to leave, to have both, to have neither.
Meanwhile, hurricane seasons add further instability to shelter and family, growing fiercer every year. Exile and displacement are accepted as permanent conditions. Latin America will mirror Cuba's violent struggles as conquered land and despotic object. From the colonial desecrations to fraught revolutionary aftermath, the search for home is lyrically charted by this contradictory land of suffering and dreams. Through these poems, dictators, grandmothers, mythical characters, and buccaneers are given voices of equal strength, challenging what constitutes truth under a prism of fantasy and desire.